Hexbyte Glen Cove UK plants flowering a month earlier due to climate change

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Apple blossoms during spring. Climate change is causing plants in the UK to flower a month earlier on average, which could have profound consequences for wildlife, agriculture and gardeners. Credit: Ulf Büntgen

Climate change is causing plants in the UK to flower a month earlier on average, which could have profound consequences for wildlife, agriculture and gardeners.

Using a citizen science database with records going back to the mid-18th century, a research team led by the University of Cambridge has found that the effects of climate change are causing in the UK to flower one month earlier under recent global warming.

The researchers based their analysis on more than 400,000 observations of 406 plant species from Nature’s Calendar, maintained by the Woodland Trust, and collated the first flowering dates with instrumental temperature measurements.

They found that the average first flowering date from 1987 to 2019 is a full month earlier than the average first flowering date from 1753 to 1986. The same period coincides with accelerating global warming caused by human activities. The results are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

While the first spring flowers are always a welcome sight, this earlier flowering can have consequences for the UK’s ecosystems and agriculture. Other species that synchronize their migration or hibernation can be left without the flowers and plants they rely on—a phenomenon known as ecological mismatch—which can lead to biodiversity loss if populations cannot adapt quickly enough.

The change can also have consequences for farmers and gardeners. If , for example, flower early following a mild winter, entire crops can be killed off if the blossoms are then hit by a late frost.

While we can see the effects of climate change through extreme weather events and increasing climate variability, the long-term effects of climate change on ecosystems are more subtle and are therefore difficult to recognize and quantify.

“We can use a wide range of environmental datasets to see how climate change is affecting different species, but most records we have only consider one or a handful of species in a relatively small area,” said Professor Ulf Büntgen from Cambridge’s Department of Geography, the study’s lead author. “To really understand what climate change is doing to our world, we need much larger datasets that look at whole ecosystems over a long period of time.”

The UK has such a dataset: since the 18th century, observations of seasonal change have been recorded by scientists, naturalists, amateur and professional gardeners, as well as organizations such as the Royal Meteorological Society. In 2000, the Woodland Trust joined forced with the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and collated these records into Nature’s Calendar, which currently has around 3.5 million records going back to 1736.

“Anyone in the UK can submit a record to Nature’s Calendar, by logging their observations of plants and wildlife,” said Büntgen. “It’s an incredibly rich and varied data source, and alongside temperature records, we can use it to quantify how is affecting the functioning of various ecosystem components across the UK.”

For the current study, the researchers used over 400,000 records from Nature’s Calendar to study changes in 406 flowering in the UK, between 1753 and 2019. They used observations of the first flowering date of trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers, in locations from the Channel Islands to Shetland, and from Northern Ireland to Suffolk.

The researchers classified the observations in various ways: by location, elevation, and whether they were from urban or rural areas. The first flowering dates were then compared with monthly climate records.

To better balance the number of observations, the researchers divided the full dataset into records until 1986, and from 1987 onwards. The average first flowering advanced by a full month, and is strongly correlated with rising global temperatures.

“The results are truly alarming, because of the ecological risks associated with earlier flowering times,” said Büntgen. “When plants flower too early, a late frost can kill them—a phenomenon that most gardeners will have experienced at some point. But the even bigger risk is ecological mismatch. Plants, insects, birds and other wildlife have co-evolved to a point that they’re synchronized in their development stages. A certain plant flowers, it attracts a particular type of insect, which attracts a particular type of bird, and so on. But if one component responds faster than the others, there’s a risk that they’ll be out of synch, which can lead species to collapse if they can’t adapt quickly enough.”

Büntgen says that if global temperatures continue to increase at their current rate, spring in the UK could eventually start in February. However, many of the species that our forests, gardens and farms rely on could experience serious problems given the rapid pace of change.

“Continued monitoring is necessary to ensure that we better understand the consequences of a changing ,” said co-author Professor Tim Sparks from Cambridge’s Department of Zoology. “Contributing records to Nature’s Calendar is an activity that everyone can engage in.”



More information:
Plants in the UK flower a month earlier under recent warming, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2021.2456. rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2021.2456

Citation:
UK plants flowering a month earlier due to climate change (2022, February 1)
retrieved 2 February 2022

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Ingenuity Mars helicopter completes first one-way trip thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Ingenuity Mars helicopter completes first one-way trip

Hexbyte Glen Cove

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s fifth flight was captured on May 7, 2021, by one of the navigation cameras aboard the agency’s Perseverance rover. The helicopter ascended to a new height record of 33 feet (10 meters) flew 424 feet (129 meters) to a new landing site. This was the first time the helicopter made a one-way flight. It was airborne a total of 108 seconds. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its fifth flight on the Red Planet today with its first one-way journey from Wright Brothers Field to an airfield 423 feet (129 meters) to the south. After arrival above its new airfield, Ingenuity climbed to an altitude record of 33 feet (10 meters) and captured high-resolution color images of its new neighborhood before touching down.

The flight represents the rotorcraft’s transition to its new operations demonstration phase. This phase will focus on investigating what kind of capabilities a rotorcraft operating from Mars can provide. Examples include scouting, aerial observations of areas not accessible by a rover, and detailed stereo imaging from atmospheric altitudes. These operations and the lessons learned from them could significantly benefit future aerial exploration of Mars and other worlds.

“The fifth flight of the Mars Helicopter is another great achievement for the agency,” said Bob Pearce, associate administrator for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. “The continuing success of Ingenuity proves the value of bringing together the strengths of diverse skill sets from across the agency to create the future, like flying an aircraft on another planet!”

The flight began at 3:26 p.m. EDT (12:26 p.m. PDT, 12:33 p.m. local Mars time) and lasted 108 seconds. The Ingenuity team chose the new landing site based on information gathered during the previous flight—the first “aerial scout” operation on another world—which enabled them to generate digital elevation maps indicating almost completely flat terrain with almost no obstructions.






NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its fifth flight with a one-way journey from Wright Brothers Field to a new airfield 423 feet (129 meters) to the south on May 7, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We bid adieu to our first Martian home, Wright Brothers Field, with grateful thanks for the support it provided to the historic first flights of a planetary rotorcraft,” said Bob Balaram, chief engineer for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “No matter where we go from here, we will always carry with us a reminder of how much those two bicycle builders from Dayton meant to us during our pursuit of the first flight on another world.”

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s was captured after landing on May 7, 2021, by the Mastcam-Z imager, one of the instruments aboard the agency’s Perseverance rover. The helicopter ascended to a new height record of 33 feet (10 meters) and flew 424 feet (129 meters) to a new landing site. This was the helicopter’s fifth flight, and the first time the helicopter made a one-way flight. It was airborne a total of 108 seconds. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

The Wright brothers went on from proving powered, controlled flight was possible to attempting to better understand how the new technology could be employed. In a similar fashion, NASA seeks to learn more with Ingenuity how operations with next-generation helicopters could benefit future exploration of the Red Planet. This new phase will bring added risk to Ingenuity, with more one-way flights and more precision maneuvering.

Having successfully landed at its new airfield, Ingenuity will await future instructions, relayed via Perseverance, from mission controllers. The agency’s fifth rover to the fourth planet is also heading south, toward a region where it will commence science operations and sample collection. The rover team’s near-term strategy doesn’t require long drives that would leave the helicopter far behind, allowing Ingenuity to continue with this operations demonstration.

“The plan forward is to fly Ingenuity in a manner that does not reduce the pace of Perseverance science operations,” said Balaram. “We may get a couple more flights in over the next few weeks, and then the agency will evaluate how we’re doing. We have already been able to gather all the performance data that we originally came here to collect. Now, this new operations demo gives us an opportunity to further expand our knowledge of flying machines on other planets.”



Citation:
Ingenuity Mars helicopter completes first one-way trip (2021, May 8)
retrieved 9 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-one-way.html

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